The Walking & Trekking Experts
At Exodus we have over 150 of the world's finest walks and treks in 54 different countries. We are THE specialists so if you've got any questions ask our Experts on 0845 863 9600.
Dan, Walking & Trekking Programme Manager
My earliest memories are of the mountains: being carried up the Lake District’s peaks on my Dad’s back, I remember the sharpness of the winter air; playing in the bracken of Loughrigg with my school friends and perhaps most of all, my first sight of the Alps when we moved from the Lakes to live in Switzerland. They towered endlessly high above us as we drove up the valleys and I had to crane my neck to catch fleeting glimpses of the godlike peaks out of the window. That awe has never waned and each time I return to the mountains, those early feelings return – a mixture of wonder at their majesty, humility at their dwarfing bulk, and exhilaration to be amongst such beautiful giants, in an environment so utterly different and oversized compared to those that humans create.
Having negotiated the KKH from Kashgar into Pakistan south through the Indus Valley the opportunity to drop in on the 3rd Foot & Mouth Regiment (the staunch defenders of the Khyber Pass - The Devils in Skirts as they became known) was too good an opportunity to miss. So in the company of our armed guard (Bungdit Din a direct descendent of the Karsi of Kalabar as it turned out) we negotiated the legendary, hairpin heavy Khyber Pass from Peshawar all the way to the Afghan border (next stop Kabul), where we enjoyed a cup of Chai with the border guards who were taking time out from keeping the Mudjahadeen at bay... without doubt a unique experience.
Click here to read about Alistair's Favourite Walks
1) The Towers of Paine
The Torres del Paine to give them their local name, are one of the most unmistakable icons of the mountain world. Three sheer fingers of granite, including what is sometimes claimed to be the highest rock wall in the world, tower over an incomparably dramatic landscape of boulders, glaciers and lakes. On Exodus trips you can either make a complete circuit of the massif, seeing rare views of the north side of the Towers and scrambling along the edge of the immense Grey Glacier, or you take in what is know as the W - a series of day-walks which penetrate the valleys to the south, including some fabulous views of the Towers and the Cuernos del Paine - the Horns of Paine.
Best destination you have ever been... Salaar de Uyuni - Bolivian Salt flats - the ultimate 4x 4 12 hour road trip from Chile to Southern Bolivia.
What are your top 3 places in the world? San Pedro d'Atacama ( Atacama Desert , northern Chile ), Top of the Kyber pass, Pakistan / Afghan border, Top of the Jungfraujoch ( Bernese Oberland,Schweiz).
What do you always make room for in your bag? IPOD to provide the Soundtrack of my Travelling life.
Your next holiday? Next I would love to go : Trek to the top of Aconcagua ,northern Argentina , the highest point in the Americas at nearly 7000m.
What's your best travel tip? Travel fast & light , avoid check in luggage if possible.
The one that got away; when do you most wish you had your camera ready? At Stamford Bridge when Chelsea won the the Premier League for the first time in 50 years.
When was your most deserved beer? A Kilimanjaro Beer on the return to Marangu having conquered said summit.
After an amazing year backpacking in Australia I decided that travel was the industry for me. 6 years later and many trips under my belt, I really enjoy what I do for a living and I'm still addicted to travel.
Although I love London it's great to get out of the city and explore exciting and inspiring new places. From snorkelling with sharks off a lazy island in Belize to a sunset bike ride in Sri Lanka, standing at the top of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to visiting the ancient temples of Cambodia. For me travel is all about experience and creating life long memories.
I have a few trips planned already this year and can't wait to try some snow shoeing in beautiful Norway, I am definitely up for trekking in Nepal and also have Kilimanjaro on the list. Too many places ... too little time, but planning where to go next is half the fun.
It was Nepal that first whetted my appetite for the mountains and trekking. We spent a couple of weeks walking through rhododendron forests in full bloom, friendly faces waving at us from orchards full of fruit, as 8000m peaks loomed around us. Since then, the variety of scenery and people I've been lucky enough to encounter has amazed and thrilled me. Growing up in a pretty flat part of Ireland wasn't the most obvious starting point for a love of the mountains and walking, but it's something which has been with me since I joined Exodus in 2003, and continues to grow. Trekking gives you the opportunity to really get off the beaten track and see things that you just can't get to from an air conditioned van. There's no other way I would have seen the hidden valleys of the Simien mountains in Ethiopia, or explored the strange lost world on the summit of Venezuela's tepui's. Memories of afternoon tea in the old hill station of Darjeeling in India, watching a solar powered TV with the Karen people deep in Thailand's Golden Triangle, or sipping Limoncello cocktails in Sorrento on Italy's Amalfi coast are all inextricably linked to trekking, simply because we had to walk to get there!
My first experience of any kind of trekking was back when I was at school and doing my Duke of Edinburgh’s award. This mostly consisted of my group and I being lost in a cow field somewhere in Wales but it did help whet my appetite for the great outdoors and teach me the enjoyment of being in the mountains. Since working with Exodus I have been lucky enough to go on several fantastic trekking trips. These have ranged from a stunning week in the Alps trekking around the infamous Mont Blanc to staying in a remote Moroccan village exploring the unique Atlas Mountains. I love the challenge of a trekking trip and the sense of achievement at the end of the week. My only question is with so many stunning mountain ranges and trekking possibilities where shall I go next?!
I've worked in travel since 1998 but it's been the last 5 years at Exodus that have given me the chance to rise to the challenge and push myself onto higher and harder treks. I've trekked to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal, completed the 106km of the Mont Blanc Circuit, stood exhausted at the top of Kili and gone back to Africa to bag Mount Toubkal. I've clung to the dramatic peaks of the Dolomites with only a sound grip, steady foothold and a carabena as a novice at Via Ferrata and more recently enjoyed the beautiful snowscapes of Norway and France snowshoeing. I enjoy the satisfaction of a hard trek or a day's worth of activity and then rewarding myself with that cool drink, or exotic meal or even being bent back into shape in a hamman in the alleys of Marrakech as the perfect end to any trekking achievement.
I've worked at Exodus for nearly 3 years now. I've had a few adventures in Turkey, on the Lycian Activity Week, and in Norway, where I cross-country skied at Kvitavatn. However my real passion is for trekking. I've been to the Dolomites in Italy, hanging off the rocks on via ferrate cables, trekked the Julian Alps in Slovenia, the Inca Trail in Peru, Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna range in Nepal, and Ladakh in India. In my opinion, you can't beat the mountains for a good holiday. Get yourselves out there!